Submitted by Sharon Davidson, CVA
Senior Director of Community Engagement
Throughout the month of November, Big Bend Hospice has been joining organizations across the nation in hosting community activities that recognize National Hospice and Palliative Care Month (NHPCM). This year’s NHPCM theme is “meeting you where you are.”
For more than 40 years, hospice has helped provide interdisciplinary, supportive care to millions of people, allowing them to spend their final months wherever they call home and surrounded by their loved ones. Hospice teams craft plans of care that ensure pain management, therapies, and treatments all center on the patients’ and their loved ones’ goals and wishes. Hospice care also provides emotional support and advice to help family members become confident caregivers and adjust to the future with grief support for up to a year.
“At the heart of hospice is meeting patients and their loved ones where they are during difficult times when support is needed most,” said Ben Marcantonio, COO and Interim CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). “National Hospice and Palliative Care month recognizes the crucial role hospice and palliative care providers play in caring for their communities year-round.”
Each year, over one million Medicare beneficiaries receive care from hospices across the United States. When a patient is not eligible for hospice care, they may benefit from community-based palliative care, often offered by hospice providers. Palliative care is patient and family-centered care that optimizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing, and treating suffering. Palliative care throughout the continuum of illness also involves addressing physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual needs and facilitates patient autonomy through access to information and choice.
BBH Volunteer Robbie Raynes says “Volunteering with Big Bend Hospice is a way to give back to Hospice for the loving care they have given to me as a caregiver and many of my family members through the years. I have come to understand the mission of what Hospice does and I have embraced it through volunteering. I have volunteered in many aspects of Hospice and found that each one carries many blessings for our patients but also for myself. It could be a moment a family member just gave their loved one the last hug and you are there to give them a hug as well. At that moment you are their blessing, and you are blessed by being able to comfort them by sharing from your heart. Big Bend Hospice is a team of loving, caring, and helpful people that want to make a difference in the lives of others at their end of life and for that, I am thankful to be called a Volunteer for Hospice.”
More information about hospice, palliative care, and advance care planning is available from Big Bend Hospice at www.bigbendhospice.org or on NHPCO’s CaringInfo.org.